For the first time since 2000, Michigan State is headed to the Big Ten tournament championship game. Early on in the Spartans' semifinal game against Wisconsin, it looked like Michigan State's drought was going to continue. Then the Spartans turned the game around and never looked back. They went on a 26-5 run to close out the first half and kept their hot streak going in the second half en route to a 65-52 victory.
After starting off this game on a 9-0 run, Wisconsin appeared to be in pretty good shape. At the very least, Michigan State was on its toes early. It looked like it could be a long day for the Spartans, but they weren't about to let this game get too far out of control. Once things calmed down, Michigan State got its big run started around eight minutes into the half. Fueled by three straight three pointers by Austin Thornton, Michigan State scored 13 points in a row and ended up leading 35-25 at halftime.
In the second half, it was more of the same from the Spartans, although Wisconsin did make a run of its own to cut the lead down to six points. Draymond Green stopped the run with a three-point play, and Keith Appling hit a three a couple possessions later. The lead grew back to 12 and that was basically all she wrote. Michigan State charged away and went on to win 65-52.
Michigan State got a pretty balanced effort in this victory. Green led the scoring with 14 points and also grabbed 16 rebounds. Appling added 13 points of his own and Thornton scored 12 points on four three pointers. Derrick Nix had nine points for Michigan State, as did Brandon Wood.
Michigan State now awaits the winner of the Michigan/Ohio State game, which is the second semifinal of the day in Indianapolis. The Buckeyes are looking to return to the Big Ten tournament championship game for the fourth year in a row, and Michigan is trying to get to the final for the first time since 1998.
Sunday's title game will tip off at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
For more, check out the 2012 Big Ten tournament bracket and our StoryStream. For more on the Michigan State Spartans, go to The Only Colors. You can also head over to SB Nation's main NCAA Basketball hub at SBNation.com/NCAA-Basketball.